#1
Today's SMBC comic reminded me of something I've thought about from time to time: What distinguishes today's technology from what people of previous centuries would call magic?

Imagine trying to explain electricity to someone from the middle ages.
"It's a type of energy inherent in everything that we can use to make light, kill people, or bring them back to life."

or Radio, for that matter.
"We send invisible signals through the air to talk to people who aren't here"

Hell, exposure to radiation even fits the classic description of a hex

So I guess, my question is: can anybody think of anything that distinguishes modern technology from magic?
I think we took too many drugs when we were kids,
'cause now we like to make
Weird Music
-Wayne Coyne
#3
We have Criss Angel


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#4
Quote by iantheman
Imagine trying to explain electricity to someone from the middle ages.
"It's a type of energy inherent in everything that we can use to make light, kill people, or bring them back to life."

or Radio, for that matter.
"We send invisible signals through the air to talk to people who aren't here"

Well if you frame it to make it sound like magic, of course it's gonna sound like magic.
#6
Someone should totally do this.. When we discover the spell for time travel.
UG's King Neptune

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#8
Quote by due 07
Well if you frame it to make it sound like magic, of course it's gonna sound like magic.

My point still stands: can you think of anything tangible that distinguishes electricity from magic?
I think we took too many drugs when we were kids,
'cause now we like to make
Weird Music
-Wayne Coyne
#9
Quote by iantheman
My point still stands: can you think of anything tangible that distinguishes electricity from magic?

Electricity can be quantified. Magic can't.
#10
A wand?
Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise
#13
Quote by slapsymcdougal
Electricity can be quantified. Magic can't.

What about Mana points then ?


Quote by Krieger91
A wand?

I think we took too many drugs when we were kids,
'cause now we like to make
Weird Music
-Wayne Coyne
Last edited by iantheman at Mar 7, 2012,
#14
I can balefire like nobody else. Don't make me balefire you.

I'm crazy like that. It's Saidin, I tell you.


*serious face* The main way everything differs, I suppose, is how we harness and control electricity. It's a lot more constrained than traditional depictions of magic. We have to build a system and then it'll only do what we built it to, while magic is usually depicted as being an inherent system where the user only needs to think or say something to work it.

But then, of course, the way a magic system works is entirely down to the mind of the person that imagined it. There's all sorts out there, and you could easily tell a fantasy story where the 'magic' was essentially advanced technology.

To go with my Wheel of Time example above, there's artifacts that are left over from a previous age where civilisation was more advanced, and in a lot of cases it's not clear to the reader whether these artifacts are inherently magical or just stuffed with advanced tech. It's all left vague.
#15
Unicorns. These are what distinguish technology from magic, because unicorns are fcking MAGICAL!
Do you feel warm within your cage?

And have you figured out yet -


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#17
Watch 2001: A Space Odyssey.
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